Chapter 8

  1. "about" - ~ほど
  2. "even if" - たとえ、~ても
  3. "and, and, etc" - ~たり
  4. "while" - ながら
  5. "may I...?" - ~でもいいですか?
  6. "not much" - あまり
  7. The power そう
  8. Polite Japanese - 敬語
  9. Polite II - お~ください、お~になります
  10. Giving/receiving - あげる、くれる、もらう
  11. Level/degree of something - ~さ
  12. "just did..." - ばかり
  13. "can" II - たべられます、よめます

About ~ほど

To say 'about' as in "about a week" or to show an approximate degree of something, use ~ほど

1週間ほど
isshuu kan hodo
About
a week

駅は10キロほどさきです。
eki wa jukkiro hodo saki desu.
The train station is about 10 kilometers ahead.

これは5,000円ほどで買えます。
kore wa go sen en hodo de kaemasu.
This can be bought for about 5000 yen.

Even if たとえ ~ても

Sometimes you need to sound poetic. This construction fits perfectly into that mood.

Construction: VERBS
arrow たとえ +
arrow Take the て form of a verb
arrow Add ても

たとえ世界が終わっても・・・
tatoe sekai ga owattemo
Even if
the world ends
...

たとえ失敗してもまた頑張りましょう。
tatoe shippai shitemo mata ganbarimashou..
Even if
we fail, let's keep at it.

Make the negative form of the verb with ても:

たとえ二度と会えなくても忘れません。
tatoe nido to aenaku temo wasuremasen.
Even if
we shall never meet again, I won't forget.

And and ~たり

Doing this; Doing that

Construction: 
arrow Take the た form of a verb (simple past)
arrow Add たり

立ったりたり
tattari suwatari
Standing and
sitting

ドルが上がったり下がたり
doru ga agattari sagattari
The dollar is rising and
falling.

きょうは買い物をしたりレストランで食べたりしてたくさんのお金を使った。
kyou wa kaimono o shitari resutoran de tabetari shite takusan no okane o tsukatta.
Today I went shopping and
at at a restaurant, etc; I used a lot of money.

While ながら

While doing this I also did this...

Construction: 
arrow Take the ます form of a verb and drop the ます (the stem)
arrow Add ながら

音楽を聴きながら勉強をしました。
ongaku o kiki nagara benkyou o shimashita.
While
studying, I listened to music.

本を読みながらご飯を食べます。
hon o yomi nagara gohan o tabemasu.
While
eating a meal, I read a book.

One useful set phrase is 残念ながら zan nen nagara and means, "That's too bad" or "I regreat (to say)" or "Unfortunately"

May I? ~てもいいですか?

Asking permission and Being polite go hand in hand. Here is how you do both in Japanese.

Construction: 
arrow Take the て form of a verb
arrow Add もいいですか?

電話を使ってもいいですか?
denwa o tsukattemo ii desu ka?
May I
use the phone?

休んでもいいですか?
yasundemo ii desu ka?
May I
take a break? (from work, from studying, etc)

ちょっと話してもいいですか?
chotto hanashitemo ii desu ka?
May I
say something? (I'd like to speak a little)

Not much あまり

Not much; not really--Followed by a negative verb

Construction: 
arrow Used in a negative sentence

日本語があまり上手じゃない。
nihongo ga amari jouzu ja nai
I'm not really good at Japanese.

あまりよくない。
amari yokunai
(That's) not really good.

踊りはあまりうまくない。
odori wa amari umaku nai
I'm not really good dancing.

お金はあまりない。
okane wa amari nai
I don't have much money.

The power "そう"

そう, for our purposes today, means, "That's right" or "That's so" (the latter being an easy way to remember)

Construction: 
arrow This useful word is used in various idiomatic ways. It is best to learn each as an example by heart.

そうです。
sou desu
Yes, that is right.

そうですか?
sou desu ka?
Is that so?; Really?; You don't say?

そういえば・・・
sou ieba
Now that you mention it; Speaking of that...

そう考えると
sou kangaeru to
Seen from that light; Thinking like that; From that point of view

そうしたら
sou shitara
If you do it that way...; if done that way...

そうしないと
sou shinai to
If you don't do it that way...

And there are many more you will come across! Listen to how そう is used in conversation.

Polite Japanese 敬語

There are three basic types of honorifics for verbs. It depends on your social rank as to which form to use.

A) Humble (謙譲語 kenjougo) - This is when referring to oneself or one's family members and (usually) speaking to someone higher up in social rank, position or some other criteria for determining status. However even some people with high positions may choose to use the humble form with those under him/her.
B) ~masu - As mentioned above ~masu / desu is actually 丁寧語 teineigo or polite language, but I'm using the familiar ~masu form for an easy comparison to the the kenjougo and sonkeigo forms.
C) Respectful (尊敬語 sonkeigo) - This is what you say to your boss or those higher up when speaking to them. If you are speaking about yourself, you will use the humble form.

Humble
(speaking to your boss about yourself)
Normal
(speaking to your friends)
Respectful
(speaking to your boss about your boss)
拝見します
haiken shimasu
見ます
mimasu
to see
ご覧になります
goran ni narimasu 
申します
moushimasu
You know this from "name to moushimasu"
言います
iimasu
to say
おっしゃいます
osshaimasu
頂きます
itadakimasu
食べます
tabemasu
to eat
召し上がります
meshi agarimasu

参ります
mairimasu

This is the humble form for both to come and go!

来ます
kimasu
to come

行きます
ikimasu
to go

いらっしゃいます
irasshaimasu

This is the respectful form for both to come and go!

致します
itashimasu
します
shimasu
to do
なさいます
nasaimasu

  For a more detailed explanation and many more examples see here.

Polite Part II

お + stem + になる This makes a 'normal' verb honorific (exalted) [You are speaking to or about someone with a higher status than you (your boss)]

社長と話しましたか?
shachou to hanashimashita ka?
Company president - with - talk - ?
Did you speak with the boss? (normal)
Arrow Image

社長とになりましたか?
shachou to o hanashi ni narimashita ka?
Did you speak with the boss? (polite)

何か飲みませんか?
nanika nomimasen ka?
something - won't drink - question
Won't you drink something? (normal)
Arrow Image
何か飲みになりませんか?
nanika o nomi ni narimasen ka?
Won't you drink something? (polite)

お + stem + ください This also makes a 'normal' verb exalted; it is used when asking things - 'please give me'

売ってください。
utte kudasai.
Please sell (me this). (normal)
Arrow Image

お売りください。
o uri kudasai.
Please sell (me this) (honorific)

食べてください。
tabete kudasai,
Please eat. (normal)
Arrow Image
お食べください
o tabe kudasai.
Please eat. (polite)
For a more detailed explanation and many more examples see here.

Giving and Receiving あげる、くれる、もらう

あげる、くれる、もらう

These three verbs are easy to mix up, but they aren't too difficult if you spend some time learning each word's function. It is of course more complex than this page allows, but this should give you a fairly good understanding.

The Word: あげる
arrow When you, the speaker, give something to someone, use あげる

これをあなたにあげます
kore o anata ni agemasu.
I will give you this.

NOTE: The receiver is the one with the に particle (あなたに to you).

 

The Word: くれる
arrow This is also usually translated as 'give' but it is from the receiver's point of view.

田中さんがこれを私にくれました
tanaka san ga kore o watashi ni kuremashita.
Tanaka gave this to me.

NOTE: Again, the receiver is the one with the に particle. (私に to me)

 

The Word: もらう
arrow もらう is used from the perspective of the receiver.

私が友達からケーキをもらいました
watashi ga tomodachi kara ke-ki o moraimashita.
I received a cake from a friend. (My, the receiver, point of view)

NOTE: If から is used, the meaning should be pretty clear (友達から from a freind), but you can also use に to show who is doing the action as in:

私が友達にケーキをもらいました
watashi ga tomodachi ni ke-ki o moraimashita.
I received a cake from a friend.

NOTE: The use of に with もらう can seem confusing considering に is used to mean the receiver in the other two cases

Level / degree of something ~さ

Add さ to adjectives to express a degree or amount

Construction: -i adjectives:
arrow Remove the trailing い and add さ

ぞうさんの高は何ですか?
zou san no takasa wa nan desu ka?
What is the height of an elephant

NOTE: The さ shows a degree; this can be a higher, lower, wider, thinner, etc amount. (we could be asking the height of an ant)

Construction: -na adjectives:
arrow Just add the さ without the な

この車の静かは驚くべきです。
kono kuruma no shizukasa wa odoroku beki desu.
This car's quietness is amazing.

NOTE: The finished product (adjective + さ) becomes a noun phrase and is treated as a noun grammatically.

Just Did... ばかり

Showing a completed action: just...

Construction: 
arrow Add ばかり after the simple past of a verb

食べたばかりです。
tabeta bakari desu.
I just ate.

たてたばかりの家。
tateta bakari no ie.
A newly built house.

今来たばかりです。
ima kita